With Sunday night’s win, the Edmonton Oilers have clawed their way back into the playoff race.
They are now just two points back of the eighth spot in the Western Conference after gaining at least one point in their last four games. General manager Steve Tambellini may in fact be looking to add to the Oilers’ roster rather than trading key players away.
If that scenario unfolds in the next week or two, rather than focusing on adding a power forward, I think the team needs to add a quality defenseman who can play at least 18 to 20 minutes per night. In other words, someone who can play as part of their second pairing and potentially on the second power-play unit.
The Oilers would likely have to trade one of their lower-rung defenders, a top-nine forward and a high draft pick.
Here are the three defenseman the Oilers might be able to acquire prior to the trade deadline if they are made available by their respective teams.
The Phoenix Coyotes’ Keith Yandle will be pursued by several teams.
With their ongoing ownership woes, the Coyotes are likely going to try and shed salary—particularly if they do not find themselves in a playoff position by the end of March, prior to the trade deadline.
Yandle is a heady defenseman, would log a lot of minutes and is only 26 years old.
He would be a good fit in Edmonton not only immediately, but for many years to come.
The asking price for Yandle would be very high, but if the Oilers decide they are going to look for this type of impact player, it would not be inconceivable to see Tambellini pursue Yandle in the coming weeks.
With their Swiss connection, Ralph Krueger has some important knowledge of the New York Islanders’ Mark Streit and that could be a factor in what the Oilers decide to do as the deadline approaches.
While Streit is now 35 years old, his ability to move the puck combined with his overall intelligent play would be a welcome addition to the Oilers’ defense corps.
The Oilers are well under the salary cap (per CapGeek) and Streit’s $4.1 million cap hit would pose no concerns.
There was a time when trading for a Calgary Flame would have been inconceivable to nearly all Oilers fans.
Times have changed.
While a healthy rivalry exists, I’m not sure that either team possesses the same level of vitriol for the other that existed in the 1980s when the rivalry peaked.
Jay Bouwmeester is signed through 2014 at close to $7 million per year, but again, the Oilers could afford to add that kind of salary. While he has never really blossomed into the defenseman that many thought he would be, maybe coming home to Edmonton would help inspire him to greater heights.
There is no question that the smooth-skating defenseman would fit in very well with this young and talented squad.
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